Skip to main content

National Medical Billing Services is excited to announce we are now nimble solutions. Learn more.

Value-Based Care and the Patient Experience: How to Measure Quality, Cost, Patient Satisfaction

Under value-based care models, healthcare providers are reimbursed based on metrics that show the quality of care achieved rather than volume of services delivered. As more payers shift to value-based care models, ASCs need to provide data that shows patients receive exceptional care before, during, and after each procedure.

Compiling this information starts with patient satisfaction surveys, but there are other ways to measure every patient’s journey and show how your surgery center improves each patient’s experience. 

Here’s an overview of how to benchmark and track relevant criteria to meet value-based care standards.

How to measure value-based care and improve patient experience

There’s a lot of competition in the restaurant industry. Customers have a wide-range of choices including the type of food, the time of day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner – and what’s on the agenda, whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or general night out. Deciding factors also include location and price.

Most people rely on online reviews and friendly recommendations to make their decisions, but restaurant owners know they can’t rely on positive reviews and word of mouth alone. They go the extra mile to understand what makes their restaurant unique and what keeps customers coming back.

For example, restauranteurs create customer surveys to collect feedback on the reason why customers are choosing to eat there. Is it due to a recent ad campaign, google search, local food critic, personal recommendation, convenience, price? They also monitor inventory costs to make sure they’re offering good deals without skimping on quality.

Another popular metric for restaurants is improving customer wait times. Tracking how long it takes for a customer to be seated, to be greeted by the server, to receive the meal after placing the order, plus how long it takes to clean and prepare the table for the next guest can improve the customer experience. Wait times can indicate if more staff should be hired or if more staff are needed on certain nights to keep up with demand. 

Likewise, when ASCs take a patient-centric approach, they measure specific metrics that improve the patient experience and patient satisfaction. The better your data, the stronger your case for what distinguishes your ASC from the rest: top-notch quality, affordability, swift recovery periods, and exceptional results.

The most common value-based care metrics

There are many ways to measure your patient-centric approach. Some of the most common metrics to track are: 

  • Patient satisfaction surveys: Getting real-time feedback on how satisfied patients are with their experience is valuable for your business. Surveys can include factors such as wait times, facility cleanliness, staff friendliness, and overall quality of care. Improving patient satisfaction can increase patient loyalty, referrals, and positive online reviews, which can attract new patients. 
  • Turnover time: The ability to perform more surgeries in your facility increases revenue. Turnover time measures the time it takes to prepare a surgical suite between cases. Reducing turnover time can increase the number of procedures performed and improve efficiency if the ASC can handle increased demand without sacrificing quality of care.  
  • First-case on-time starts: Patients don’t like wasting time in waiting rooms on the day of their surgery, especially if they haven’t had anything to eat for 8 hours. This KPI measures the percentage of surgeries that start on time. This metric can help identify areas for improvement in scheduling, communication, and staff productivity.  
  • Staff productivity: There are many ways to measure staff productivity, including the number of procedures performed per hour, per day, or per week. Increasing staff productivity can help increase revenue and reduce costs.  
  • Staff turnover rate: Staff retention, staff shortages, and staff burnout are nationwide concerns in the healthcare industry today. High staff turnover can negatively impact productivity, quality of care, and patient satisfaction. 
  • Compliance: All members of your staff members should be knowledgeable of the latest federal and local guidelines and participate in continuing education as needed. This ensures your ASC remains compliant with all relevant regulations, accreditation standards, and best practices. Maintaining compliance can help ensure patient safety and reduce the risk of legal or financial penalties. 

When a new patient is considering your ASC, it’s important to communicate why procedures cost less in the ASC setting, why the quality of care is better at your ASC, and what the patient can expect after the procedure in terms of financial obligations and recovery period.

Educating the patient ahead of time on these three topics will also improve your patient satisfaction surveys.  

High deductible plans have patients looking for low-cost options

Paying for a surgical procedure can be a significant source of financial stress for many Americans. Employees are paying a greater percentage of their healthcare bills due to the rise of high-deductible plans.  

Surveys conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that family premiums have been rising faster than workers’ wages and inflation since 2011. The burden of deductibles has increased by 92 percent across all covered workers over the past decade.¹ 

As patients shop around for low-cost options, be sure to explain the cost differences between outpatient and in-patient care. They might not know that outpatient facilities are less expensive compared to hospitals.

ASCs also have the ability to bundle payments. Bundling payments can help patients avoid unexpected or hidden costs that can arise when receiving care at a hospital, where fees for each service are billed separately. 

When high-deductible plans don’t address quality of care

Imagine a patient requires a shoulder procedure, such as a rotator cuff repair, and chooses the lowest cost surgeon. The upfront price estimate was accurate, and the patient was able to schedule automated payments to break up the cost.  

After the surgery, the patient develops signs of sepsis and is in the emergency room to manage the infection. The initial cost savings are negated because the patient’s care now costs much more in its entirety, plus the outcome isn’t preferable for the patient or the payer.  

As much as patients want to save money, they want to assess the quality of a surgeon’s work, such as how many similar procedures the surgeon has performed, what percentage of the surgeon’s work must be corrected, or what percentage of patients wind up with infections following surgery.

If your ASC can provide insights specific to results at your facility, such as lower infection rates and reviews that speak to the value of care received, new patients will feel more at ease with their choice. 

Why ASC patients experience less surgical infections compared to hospital patients

Patients want to know why ASCs are able to provide greater value and quality of care. Since ASCs are often solely focused on performing certain types of surgeries, the surgeons and supporting surgical team are well versed in specific procedures and their required safety protocols.  

As patients research healthcare provider options online, providing this kind of information on your website can be extremely valuable in attracting and educating potential clients.

Include specific examples from recent studies to back up your claims, such as:  

Surgical site infections in hospitals have been reported to occur in 2%, or in 20 out of every 1,000 patients, which is a greater rate of infection compared to outpatient facilities.²

When you list your ASC’s specialties on your website or marketing material, explain that your focused approach has fewer variables, fewer complications, and lower infection rates compared to the hospital setting – and all these factors improve the patient experience. 

Also, document your ASC’s specific outcomes, such as how quickly your patients recover from certain procedures.

If you can show your patients recover faster than the average recovery time due to a particular surgeon’s expertise or advanced surgical technology, such as robotic surgery, you’re showing additional value to patients, aside from cost-savings.

Communicate cost, recovery time prior to procedure 

Patients want to know when they’ll be back on their feet and if their recovery period will impact routine commitments. One of the main benefits of the outpatient setting includes recuperating at home instead of overnight in a hospital setting. This is a huge win for improving the patient experience and decreasing costs.  

However, patients also want to know the cost of the procedure before they agree to it, just like with any other service. The No Surprises Act requires providers to produce good faith price estimates when asked. In terms of patient satisfaction, communicating the cost ahead of time helps patients budget and plan for out-of-pocket expenses. 

User-friendly, secure online bill pay also improves the rate of patient collections, especially if there is an option to enroll in an automated payment plan. Online billing incorporates re-occurring payment reminders via email or text and allows for automatic monthly withdrawals to meet pre-set payment obligations. Automating the patient’s financial responsibility can help eliminate or at least minimize the burden on your staff to send payment reminders through the mail. 

The longer it takes to collect each payment, the longer a claim lingers in accounts receivable (A/R). Improving the patient experience through price transparency, financial counseling, and electronic bill pay options will increase your cash flow and the efficiency of your revenue cycle. 

Key takeaways

Value-based care metrics for ASCs hinge on two main factors. First and foremost, it’s crucial to focus on proactive measures that enhance the patient journey, ensuring satisfaction at every step. Secondly, robust data collection and analysis are paramount, allowing ASCs to demonstrate their unique value proposition, whether it’s through superior quality, affordability, speedy recovery times, or outstanding outcomes.

By aligning with these metrics, ASCs can not only meet but exceed the expectations of value-based care, ultimately driving better patient outcomes and operational excellence.

Are you looking for ways to improve your revenue cycle management? Take the first step towards optimizing your revenue cycle process by requesting a revenue assessment from our team of RCM experts. Request a demo.